Citizens of Bentol, the political seat of Montserrado County, are reportedly gearing up to petition Richard V. Tolbert, former National Investment Commission (NIC) chair, to contest the 2017 presidential elections.
According to organizers of the event, Mr. Tolbert will be petitioned in August in Bentol City where the elders, women and youth groups will gather to ask him to contest for the nation’s highest seat.
The idea to petition Mr. Tolbert, according to the Bentol residents, is as a result of “his love for the country and its people, especially ordinary Liberians, who he holds dear to his heart.”
During the intercessory service in observance of the 35th national convention of the True Whig Party (TWP), the Public Relations Officer of the Bentol Youth Council, Bill Harris, noted that the young people in collaboration with the elders and women, through an intensive consultative process have decided to call up Mr. Tolbert “for national duty in 2017.”
It is no secret that no particular segment of the Liberian population might have felt the impact of the reign of slain President William Richard Tolbert more than the people of his place of birth, Bentol, who continue to hold him in high esteem.
The people of that part of the country appear to hold some affection for the Tolberts primarily because of the influence of the late President Tolbert, who wholeheartedly integrated himself with the locals, predominantly the Kpelle speaking tribe, and spoke Kpelle fluently.
Mr. Harris noted that the citizens, who are also collaborating throughout the country, have decided to call upon Mr. Tolbert who they say embodies the characteristics of a true leader for his love of people and desire to see them lifted out of poverty.
Another young man, Steve Julius, recounted the significant role Dr. Tolbert played in attracting investments worth over US$9 billion to Liberia when he served as the head of NIC at the outset of the Sirleaf administration.
“This is a man who loves his country so dearly and we think he will do better when he becomes president,” Mr. Julius said.
Many of the locals interviewed by the Daily Observer said Mr. Tolbert, like his late uncle who was assassinated on April 12, 1980, holds the ordinary citizens, especially children dear to his heart and always wants to see them happy.
Mr. Tolbert said he was not too surprised by the news of his petitioning because he has been hearing it in the public and considered it as an honor for him.
He would not indicate whether he will accept or decline the petition, but said he is educationally qualified and has the requisite experience both locally and internationally for the presidency.
He claimed not to have a political party membership as yet but said he was proud to be associated with the TWP, a party of his late father, Senator Frank E. Tolbert, uncles and grandparents, who all paid the ultimate price in serving their country.